Recycling NJ
Plastic Recycling

Plastic

There are many different types of plastics so it is not always immediately obvious how to recycle each type.

To identify the type of plastic look on the bottom, of the container, bag or on the underside of the plastic lid, to find the recycling chasing arrows logo. Within this logo will be a number from 1 to 7, indicating the type of plastic the item is made from.

#1 polyethylene terephthalate (PETE).  
#2 high density polyethylene (HDPE)
#3 polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
#4 low density polyethylene (LDPE)
#5 polypropylene (PP)
#6 polystyrene (PS)
#7 other.

Plastic #1 - PETE

  • These items are collected in your curbside collection. The bottle should be rinsed clean before placing it in the recycling box.
  • The plastic bottle cap is made from a different type of plastic and should not be included in the curbside recycling collection box. For more information on bottle cap recycling, see our bottle cap webpage.

Plastic #2 - HDPE

  • Used to make sturdy plastic milk bottles, detergent bottles, some plastic bags and some plastic food containers.
  • The #2 plastic bottles are collected in your local curbside recycling collection or the county municipal recycling centers. Rinse the bottle before recycling. Remember that the plastic cap should not be included with the bottle in the recycling box. Bottle caps can be recycled by bottle cap recycling specialists. For more details go to our bottle cap recycling webpage.
  • Plastic bags can be taken to your local supermarket where they have a collection box for recycling plastic bags at the front of the store.
  • Plastic food containers made from plastic #2 HDPE are accepted in a some curbside recycling box schemes. Consult your local town or county website for details on whether or not plastic containers can be included in your recycling box.

Plastic #3 - PVC

  • Used for thin cling film plastic wraps, and a small number of detergent or cooking oil bottles. Also used to make debit, credit and store cards for your wallet.
  • Only a small number of recycling collections currently collect plastic #3 containers in New Jersey but this is likely to expand in the near future. Check your local town website to see if you can include these items in your curbside recycling box.
  • Old bank cards, credit cards, store cards, drivers licence cards and top up cards for cell phones are all made from PVC. For information on how to recycle these cards see our bank card recycling webpage.

Plastic #4 - LDPE

  • A flexible plastic used for some plastic bags, plastic wraps and some lids from plastic containers. The plastic six-pack beverage rings used to hold cans of beer together are also made from LDPE.
  • #4 plastic bags and LDPE plastic wraps are often collected for recycling by your local supermarket. A collection box will be located at the front of the store near to either the entrance or exit.

Plastic #5 - PP

  • Polypropylene is a pliable plastic found in squeeze bottles, reusable food containers, large yogurt pots and margarine tubs.
  • For information on the recycling of polypropylene containers click here.

Plastic #6 - PS

  • Polystyrene (also called Styrofoam) is used in meat trays, some food packaging, small individual serving yogurt pots and as padding material for shipment packaging.
  • The polystyrene meat trays cannot be recycled due to the hygiene risk from the handling of uncooked meat products.
  • Polystyrene used to protect goods during transit can be taken to specialist recycling centers where it will be redistributed to delivery companies for reuse.

Plastic #7 - other

  • Plastic #7 is used to identify plastic products made from unusual plastics or from a mixture of two different types of plastic. Plastic #7 containers are collected in a small number of curbside recycling collection schemes in New Jersey. Consult your local town or county recycling website for more information.